FestFlash of the European Festivals Association (September 2015)
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Summer of Festivals

At the end of September, the European Festivals Association will for the first time unite a new community of festivals through its initiatives EFFE - Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe. On 27 September, the EFFE Award Ceremony and EFFE Community Launch will celebrate the first edition of EFFE Labels and Awards. Only days before, we would like to draw your attention to another selection of festivals: the festivals experienced by our Festival Bytes bloggers this summer. This FestFlash brings you to the UK, Finland, Poland, Portugal, and Lebanon. Enjoy the journey!  

Fringe Benefits

[By Ben Schofield] In an age of rapid changes to our habits of cultural consumption – an age in which so much of that culture is now semi-intangible, located in the virtual library that is ‘the Cloud’ – there is something reassuringly old-school about attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. My first Fringe experience was as a teenager, almost 20 years ago. Since then, the festival has grown to extraordinary proportions – it is now the largest in the world, issuing 2,298,090 tickets for 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows across 313 venues this August alone. Such scale stands in stark contrast, of course, to its original role as a ‘fringe’ event to the Edinburgh International Festival, which it now dwarfs. Yet despite its enormity, in many ways I often feel as if nothing much has changed since my first Fringe two decades ago... Continue reading!

The hidden music theatre boom in Finland

[By Ceyda Berk-Söderblom] What if I told you that a murder took place in Finland in 1881? A tragic story about Arndt Hofström, respected priest, murdered with a mallet by his brother Oskar Hofström, who was also a priest. Oskar, who acclaimed his act meant to bless his brother, remained calm at the trial and was sure that God was pleased. His blood-curling story stayed as a mystery among pages of history. The secret motivation arising from his religious vision were unveiled. Today, a century later, it became a fundamental inspiration for Autuus (Bliss) – an interesting and strong music theatre work, world premiered at the Helsinki Festival. Continue reading!

For heaven’s sake

[By Kathrin Deventer] “For heaven’s sake” is what my colleagues Piotr Turkiewicz, Renata Puczyńska, both working for the newly built National Forum of Music, and myself came up with when we met in Wroclaw to work out a concept for the 65th General Assembly of the European Festivals Association (EFA) which will be held in Wroclaw, Poland from 14 to 17 April 2016. We were still under full impression of our visit of the National Forum the previous evening; I had the unique opportunity to be taken on a tour of this impressive building with its Director, inventor and motor behind its realisation, Andrzej Kosendiak. Continue reading!

A letter from Portugal to Europe

[By Claudia Galhos] A special letter to a director who is missed but left us with a prestigious international theatre festival: "Dear Joaquim Benite, this 32nd edition of the Almada International Theatre Festival (Portugal), which you founded in 1984, started the night before the Greek referendum on the austerity measures imposed by the European Union. For you the relation is clear, but not for all the readers of this text. The particular history of the festival, its content, and the nature of the Theatre Company you founded 13 years before, first in Lisbon as Campolide Group, creates a very symbolic relevance in the connection of these two realities of life: the political and economical perspective in the case of the Greek referendum and the specific artistic approach to theatre the Festival and the Company always had. Continue reading!

The difficulties of being a social megaphone

[By Ysaline Lannoy] Festivals in Lebanon always have to cope with the country’s instability. Nayla de Freige, President of the Baalbeck International Festival, for example explained us how this huge festival had to be relocated in 2013 only a few days before it was supposed to open because Baalbeck, located in the North of Lebanon and close to the Syrian border, was exposed to bombings. We were introduced to the ability of the Lebanese to adapt their festivals to the current political and social situation. We had the opportunity to meet several cultural organisations, ranging from large scale internationally renowned festivals to small experimental production houses, illustrating the diversity of the cultural scene of Lebanon. One of the places we visited was the studio of the Zoukak Theatre Company. Continue reading!

For more festival stories visit!

EFA News

Apply until 30 September for new Festival Production Management Training
Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Gwangju: “We all leave determined to act”
Inge Ceustermans on The Festival Academy, its goals, and ambition for the future

Festival News

Long live Wratislavia
Space for beautiful experiences: National Forum of Music opened on 4 September in Wrocław
Bulgarian Festivals Association launches festival calendar
Enescu Festival enters a new stage of international development
Ljubljana Festival 2015: At the heart of your summer experience
Sibelius, Tango and Kalevala: 22nd Usedom Music Festival shines the spotlight on Finland
Batumi MusicFest brings classical music to Georgian Black Sea coast
2015 Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy: Irony & Music
2015 Stresa Festival with diverse programme of high artistic quality
EFA attends opening of 30th Mosel Musikfestival
Dubrovnik Summer Festival celebrated 66th edition
11th D-Marin Turgutreis International Classical Music Festival took place in Turkey
The European Festivals Association’s FestFlash brings news from the world of festivals, and features insights shared by our bloggers on Festival Bytes. EFA created the Blog Festival Bytes as a space for story-telling about festivals. We are always looking for (guest) bloggers. Get in touch if you have a festival story to tell!
The European Festivals Association (EFA) is the umbrella organisation for arts festivals across Europe and beyond uniting about 100 music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary festivals, national festival associations and cultural networks from 40 countries. EFA works closely with its partners: The Festival Academy, the European House for Culture, and A Soul for Europe.

EFA thanks for the support: The activities in the EFA RISE project are implemented with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. EFA receives support for EFFE - Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, a pilot project for a European Platform for Festivals in the field of culture. EFA thanks the City of Ghent for its support. 
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